17-12-2017, Djibouti (Djibouti): The Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, today presided over the 59th Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the Republic of South Sudan.
The opening session of the Council of Ministers was facilitated by IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, who opened the floor by thanking the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of IGAD Member States and other participants for their time and commitment to the peace process in South Sudan.
Amb Maalim recalled that it has been six months since the 31st Extra-ordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on South Sudan directed for a high-level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan during which it was decided “to urgently convene a High-level Revitalization Forum of the parties to the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) including estranged groups to discuss concrete measures, to restore permanent ceasefire, to full implementation of the Peace Agreement and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic election at the end of the transition period”, and which mandated “the IGAD Council of Ministers to urgently convene and facilitate this forum in collaboration with relevant stakeholders”.
Amb Maalim gave the floor to the representatives from the various stakeholders involved in or providing support to the peace process in South Sudan. The Head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission H.E. Festus Mogae, was the first to make his statement, followed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan, IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, the Secretary General of the ICGLR, the Special Envoy of the African Union to South Sudan, and representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the Troika, the IGAD Partners Forum, and the Republic of China.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia then took the floor for his opening remarks in which he congratulated IGAD Special Envoy and JMEC Head for the preparation work towards the High Level Revitalization Forum under the guidance of Council of Ministers. The Minister called on the political leaders and all parties of South Sudan to “bring about a new chapter of hope, unity and prosperity”. “The significant turn out to take part in this Forum is already a very positive indication to the commitment of the South Sudanese political parties”, he said before declaring the Ministerial session open.
The High-level Revitalization Forum of the parties to the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) is opening on December 18th, 2017 in Addis Ababa.